This paper explores the influence of feminism and pragmatism on the work of Justice Bertha Wilson. Inspired by a commitment to promoting equality and advancing justice, Justice Wilson’s approach to judging resonates with feminist pragmatism. This orientation is illustrated by the approach to legal interpretation that she endorsed — an approach that was premised upon the centrality of social context and experiential knowledge rather than abstract legal formalism. Furthermore, she sought to make decisions that advanced social justice, despite her understanding that there were often no ideal solutions in concrete legal cases. Thus, she made decisions that resolved specific legal issues in the short term, recognizing the practical constraints linked to broader patterns of systemic and intergenerational inequity, and the need to continually rethink the meaning and scope of evolving legal rights.
"Feminist Pragmatism in the Work of Justice Bertha Wilson."
The Supreme Court Law Review: Osgoode’s Annual Constitutional Cases Conference
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